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Risk Behaviors of High School Students Who Report Knowing Someone Who Self-Harms

NCJ Number
Issues in Mental Health Nursing Volume: 41 Issue: 5 Dated: 2020 Pages: 415-420
Elizabeth B. Dowdell; Julia Noel
Date Published
5 pages
This descriptive, correlational study used a secondary analysis of 5,411 high school students in examining the risk behaviors of the students who reported knowing someone who engaged in self-harm, defined as the direct and deliberate destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent, but as a maladaptive attempt to cope with stressful emotions.
Of the 5,411 high school students involved in the study, 3,895 (72 percent) reported knowing someone who had cut or tried to harm themselves in another way. Students who reported knowing someone who self-harms were found to be more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and use drugs. These students also reported higher rates of bullying, cyberbullying, and Internet risk-taking with sexting and receiving sexts. Nurses, practitioners, and other professionals have key roles in assessing risk-taking behaviors in adolescents. Focused health interventions and educational programs that emphasize screening, prevention, risk-reduction, and safety, in addition to long-term impact, are the key to detecting vulnerable and at-risk adolescents. (publisher abstract modified)